Jackie Wright: Exercise Set-up Fundamentals Ensure Great Results
December 23, 2011
Every well executed exercise requires a deliberate and proper set up of the body preparing it for the unique movement aspects of that specific exercise. Just as you prepare to drive your car by putting the key in the ignition, placing your foot on the brake before putting the car into gear, seat belt on, check your rear view mirror and your surroundings for obstacles before you back up or pull out, your body needs to be prepared for movement. The better prepared it is for what is about to take place, the better the outcome. And while each different exercise requires a specific set up, by following the exercise preparation fundamentals highlighted below, every exercise you perform may provide you with improved overall results. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.
Exercise Set Up Fundamentals – The “before you move” preparation
*Before beginning any exercise, make certain that the area is clear of obstacles so that you may freely and safely perform that specific exercise.
**Whether standing, seated, quadruped, supine, side-lying or prone, the same fundamental rules apply in terms of preparing the body for movement.
***Think of the top of your head to the soles of your feet when setting up your body. The head/neck/shoulders/hips/knees and toes are generally facing forward in relationship to your body’s position.
-Head and neck are in neutral position. This is a critical beginning because every part of your body is impacted by the position of your head and neck. If your head and neck are out of neutral alignment, then every link down the chain may also be affected. If that is the case, then the exercise simply cannot be performed properly. Obviously, for those with spinal alignment limitations/issues, modifications should be created so that they may set up as optimally as possible.
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-Shoulders are rotated back and down as though you are placing them into your back pockets. If the shoulders are shrugged upward (a common occurrence), then the shoulder girdle cannot optimally engage the muscles that need to engage for stability and movement in that region.
-Rib cage lifted and the chest open so that you are not caving inward. The “caving” position may also inhibit optimal breathing techniques.
-Elongate your spine, thinking that your spine is as straight as an arrow from the top of the head to the tailbone.
-Pull your navel toward the spine and pull the pelvic floor muscles upward engaging the core muscles. Think of a corset securely wrapped around your torso 360 degrees from the base of the rib cage to the pubic bone bracing the body. This speaks to stabilization and we know that we must be stable before we are mobile!
-Relax the knees, never hyperextending the knee joint or any joint for that matter. When the knees lock, this may throw the spine out of alignment.
-Weight equally distributed through the soles of the feet when standing, anchoring the body. If quadruped, equally distribute weight on hands/knees, if planked, through hands/elbows and knees/toes, etc.
Now that you are set up, we begin considering where the movement you are about to perform initiates from-that will be our topic next week.
Jackie Wright is the owner/manager of Never Summer Fitness, LLC located in Grand Lake, Colorado. She may be reached at her website at http://www.neversummerfitness.com , her email at NSFGL@comcast.net, her blog at http://www.skyhidailynews.com and her Facebook page at Never Summer Fitness.
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